Gotta love a team whose least clueless act in the last few weeks is building a statue for Ray Lewis.
There’s been so much controversy going on in the league office this week, it’s been easy to forget that there’s actually football going in. In fact, this game likely would have been completely overshadowed if it didn’t happen to involve the team at the center of the mess.
If distractions truly are a thing that can throw off a football team, this would be the time. Stories continue to pour in about how the Ravens and the NFL had the full story and just chose to ignore it with their initial punishment of Rice. The Ravens are on a short week, coming off a loss at home to a division foe and now facing their biggest rival with the scrutiny of the national media – not just the national football media – all over them. Baltimore is certainly capable of beating Pittsburgh, though their meetings are typically decided by the thinnest of margins in recent history. They need to keep their focus; a loss drops them in 0-2 and beyond just a media shitshow to a team on the brink of having their season fall apart.
The Steelers had to escape a furious second-half comeback by the Browns on Sunday despite holding a 27-3 halftime lead. Pittsburgh’s once-venerable run defense gave up 183 rushing yards, 100 of which were accounted by the not-very-well-known Terrance West. If that holds up, it is certainly a boon to the Ravens, who had a mess in their backfield even without Ray Rice. Bernard Pierce was expected to be the starter but played so poorly in Week 1 that Justin Forsett has already ascended to top back status after one game.
Ultimately, both of these teams are sort of middling and neutral fans are likely going pro-meteor, if they even want to watch at all, in a game between Ben Roethlisberger and a team that did all it could to protect a abuser. The least these teams could do it produce a close game that isn’t like, a 9-6 final.